Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Top Ten Resolutions

(Guest-blogged by Popeye the Cat.)

Maybe my bipedaled pets don't believe in making resolutions and bettering themselves as the second-most dominant life form on the planet but that doesn't mean I can't make my own resolutions in the interests of self betterment. So here are my top 10 resolutions for 2012.

  • 10) I will not stick my rectum and admirably large package in Mommy and Daddy's face anymore. There's such a thing as too much of a good thing.

  • 9) I will not follow them into the bathroom every single time for a head and butt scratching. My sense of smell is extremely powerful. Trust me on this.

  • 8) I will not put myself between Mommy and Daddy and their monitors, especially if there's a chance they're ordering food for me online.

  • 7) I will not lick my admirably large package in front of Daddy. I hate it when he gets jealous.

  • 6) I will not lay down on top of Daddy's manuscripts and Mommy's magazines while they're using them. The ink is a bitch to lick off.

  • 5) I will try not to be too finicky in the future, provided my zebra meat is still grilled gently over moon rocks by Japanese ventriloquists.

  • 4) Next Christmas, I will not tear apart everyone's presents in an attempt to get at mine.

  • 3) I will practice more restraint when Daddy gives me catnip. The last time, I put over $100 on his debit card and he was not happy.

  • 2) I will stop pissing in the bathroom closet, on the bedroom floor and on Daddy's tote bag if my litter box isn't cleaned every hour on the hour.

  • 1) Naming me was still an exercise in futility but when they call me from now on, the least I can give them is a contemptuous, bored look.
  • Friday, December 30, 2011

    Profiles in Cravenness

    There's an old saying, "Treason is a matter of timing." Same thing goes for statesmanship and patriotism, especially at the beginning of an election cycle.

    Much has been made about Obama's "tough stance" on not caving in to the Republicans, especially the ones in the House who found themselves in the absurd position of saying "No" to Obama's stopgap payroll tax cut plan. Republicans saying "No" to tax cuts??? Say it ain't so, Joe McCarthy!

    But here's how it really down on the seedier side of the aisle:

    While Obama was posturing like the Lion King and publicly calling out the Republicans for what we already knew they are (racist refugees from the DSM IV), the House Republicans realized they'd painted themselves into a corner, Tea Party caucus or no Tea Party caucus. It was a lose-lose situation for the House Repukes, especially since the tax cut measure sailed through the Senate by a pretty wide bipartisan consensus.

    So House Speaker John Boehner did what Boehner usually does when he saw his troops tip-toeing off into the sunset of the Great Experiment: Boehner waited until virtually everyone left for their home districts or the nearest golf course, put up the bill under "unanimous consent" (which he should've done in the beginning while everyone was still in town) so that any lone Tea Bagger could do the House's version of the filibuster and oppose it. Naturally, none of them did and Boenher got the bill passed without expending any political capital (or so he thought). When the president signed the bill into law on the 23rd, it was even billed as a Christmas present to the American people! Scrooge caved just like the story goes. Dickens couldn't have penned it better!

    Even Alan Grayson, in his latest fundraising email, is hailing this as a great victory for President Obama and the Democratic Party, for standing tall like Bo Svenson or The Rock and just saying, "No!" to the House Republicans who were all too willing to shut the government down just so they themselves could say No to a Democratic President who wanted to extend tax cuts to middle class families for another two months. This, at the very least, enabled unemployed Americans to keep living considerably below the poverty line instead of at the very bottom of the graph.

    But even Grayson's usually dead-on cynicism missed the point. Because given his track record these past three years, it's tough to imagine President Barack Chamberlain standing up to the Republican Party in any other but an election year. This is about the most far left Obama will ever allow himself to lean even as the 2012 election year looms closer. Insisting that the House GOP pass a pitifully stopgap measure that will last only until the end of February when the 113th Congress convenes is hardly what a shrewd and perspicacious political observer would call "courageous."

    We'll see if this victory will embolden the President to continue taking a firm stand against the congressional GOP just as Obama's every appeasement has emboldened the right side of the aisle to ask for more and more. It was a stalemate in which there were no real winners. The Democrats squeezed a two month payroll tax break out of the Republicans and the Republicans can always say to their lunatic fringe (and they will) that they played ball with the Commie Muslim Kenyan just long enough to keep the money spigots on until Congress reconvenes, see how much we love you out of work folks?

    It's still possible that Obama will continue to eyeball the GOP. But even if he does throughout 2012, how do we know that this so-called populist position isn't just basic election year political gamesmanship? And how do we know the GOP won't pull their same old bullshit, with the same old results, when the fight begins over a longer payroll tax cut that will put more of their political capital on the line?

    Sunday, December 25, 2011

    Popeye's 3rd Christmas

    I figured I'd take a picture of our tree before Popeye completely destroyed my already haphazard arrangement.

    Here's Popeye once the catnip got broken out. Looks as if my trepidations were well-founded.

    Peace on earth and good will fewer violent tendencies toward Mankind. And a merry Xmas was had by all.

    Merry Xmas from Funtwo

    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Craven Little Shitbag

    See this? I awoke this morning to four of these. Actually, three were slashed and the only one that wasn't touched was still flat as a pancake. After hoofing it to the nearest garage, lugging back a portable air tank with 100 pounds of air, I was able to partially blow up the tires to where I could get it to the nearest air hose and even then I couldn't put even 30 pounds in any of them.

    When I dropped the air tank back off, the mechanic on duty told me three of my tires were slashed, with three puncture marks in the tread of the rear passenger tire. Only one tire was actually slashed in the side wall and I had to spend beaucoup bucks I didn't have on even the one used tire they had that was compatible with my wheel.

    I can only imagine the cowardly, craven little psycho shit bag who did this. Imagine kneeling down next to someone's car during a lightning storm and puncturing the same tire three times in a row. I have a fairly concrete idea who did this and I already told their mother in a voice mail on her work phone to spread the word to cut the shit. I've completely stayed out of her and her family's life for nearly two years and I do not need this constant vandalism (last night's was the fourth). I also reported this to the police at the garage so now all the vandalisms are documented and suspects named.

    There is no excuse for this. You have a problem with me? Knock on my door and talk to me like a man. Don't take out your petty little grudges on my personal property while trespassing on my landlord's property.

    Bottom line, I just had to spend over $100 that I don't have three days before Christmas on a used tire and for work being done on the other three. I need a safe car to drive because I have to go to the next town over in less than 48 hours to pick up my son and his fiancee on Xmas Eve. I need a safe car to drive Mrs. JP to the airport in Rhode Island early next month and then back again in a week so she can fly back to Florida to see her ailing mother. I know this close to Xmas most of you are tapped out. Yet we desperately need help again and anything you could do would be tremendously appreciated. I'll throw in free copies of either or both my novels on Kindle on request.

    Addendum: The tire that wasn't supposed to have a hole did have a hole and the used tire I bought also had a hole. Bottom line, I've suffered six flat tires and have two dodgy tires, with a second used tire (costing an additional $32) not on the rim. I'm having neighbors watch the car whenever they can, so if you're reading this you little piece of shit, be forewarned: You never know when you'll be watched and the police have already assured me I will not be responsible for the shape you'll be in when they come to arrest what's left of you. Once you set foot on someone else's private property, you're fair game.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Putting the Fun Back in Dysfunctional

    Go to for the latest on the most dysfunctional presidential campaign ever. Go back often, report the results (My personal favorite is the Tiffany's ad). How, after all this time and after collecting millions from well-heeled millionaires, Newt never thought to buy this domain is simply beyond me.

    Monday, December 19, 2011

    Failed Dictator Dies, Millions Mourn

    "Look in my eyes.
    What do you see?
    The Cult of Personality.
    -Living Color, "The Cult of Personality.

    The man called a "pygmy" by mental pygmy George W. Bush, Kim Jong Il, has died. After the boo-hooing over "Dear Leader" has somewhat subsided, I hope that posterity's final word on Kim Jong Il is that he brought out the failures and shortcomings of virtually every non-Communist nation that was ever forced to deal with him and the failure of the Communist state. That's all that posterity should say about him.

    The Clinton administration tried dealing with him in its final months, sending Secretary of State Madeline Albright to talk him into drawing down his missile program and she failed. George W. Bush, reduced to impotent sputtering and name-calling, failed to deter Kim from his single-minded course in obtaining 6-8 nuclear weapons and was aided in his failure by John "Group sex" Bolton, who, as Undersecretary of State monitoring the development of the weapons programs of other nations, helplessly watched as North Korea detonated its first nuclear weapon. Underscoring the Bush administration's failure was in bribing Kim with over $20,000,000 taxpayer dollars which Kim then used to throw himself a birthday party and pursued his nuclear program, anyway.

    Kim's 17 year-long reign as North Korea's dictator, a mantle reluctantly handed to him by his father after years of relentless campaigning for more power, also represented the ultimate failure of one of the last Communist states on earth. The belligerent and maddeningly stubborn Kim was so focused on harvesting every single scrap of fissionable nuclear material to create a pitiful arsenal of 6-8 nuclear warheads that he forgot how to feed his own people, depending on his enemies South Korea and the United States to do it for him.

    Like Gadaffi and Bush, he was an international punchline, a man who benefited more from the cult of personality and nepotism than any other ruler of his time. The reputed owner of some 20,000 foreign movies, perhaps he saw something in himself in the complete James Bond series, perhaps in Dr. No or Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

    Kim also represents the absolute stupidity and cluelessness of the human race even while he was turning George Orwell's 1984 into a historical document. The North Korean people knew nothing of him, not even his exact date and place of his birth. News of his declining health were mere rumors and began to sound like the multiple accounts of Big Brother's ceaseless amputations in György Dalos' 1985.

    Like Pinochet and other recently-departed dictators, Kim somehow, exclusively through a bloodline based on murder and terrorism, earned the love and idolatry of a people despite the facts that during his reign, roughly two million North Koreans starved to death, dissidents abroad were tracked down by Jong Il-dispatched assassins and countless thousands of men, women and even children were and still are kept in internment camps all over the hermetic nation. Yet in picture after picture, we see this runt in his Michael Meyers jumpsuit, smiling for the cameras while empty suits and military uniforms nervously smile, hands clasped across their genitals.

    Kim Jong Il was a joke outside North Korea, so much so that he earned a starring role in the comedy hit Team America. But even worse than a joke, he was such a bad joke that he turned every nation that ever tried to deal with him into a joke, including two presidential administrations and his rival to the south that was obliged to feed the people that he plainly had no problem starving to death. We were forced to treat this man as if he was a legitimate world leader simply because the failures of the Bush and Clinton administrations allowed him to acquire The Bomb. And American foreign policy (especially with Israel) these last several decades has taught us that as long as a country has even one nuclear warhead, it has to be taken seriously.

    Kim Jong Il exposed the stupidity and impotence of some of the mightiest nations on earth and ought to be viewed as an object lesson in how not to deal with heads of state in the future.

    (Editor's note: Demands on my time this holiday season and the almost complete absence of a legitimate readership and commentary has compelled me to hang it up for at least the rest of the year. The amount of time and energy I put into this almost completely ignored blog fills me with a sense of neverending failure and valuable, dwindling resources going completely to waste. I may post some greeting on Christmas morning but beyond that, at the very least I cannot guarantee I'll be back for 2012, election year or no. The very minimal and intermittent rewards, financial, intellectual and otherwise that I derive from this thankless endeavor simply do not justify the resources I pour into it like a jug of water into a sand dune. I cannot do anything about being utterly and completely ignored but at least I can minimize the sense of unending failure and wasted effort by discontinuing to bang my head against the immovable wall of apathy and ignorance. To my very few readers aside from the perverts who stream in from all over the world looking for .jpegs of "naked fat men" [I am so sorry I wrote that post, "One Minute in the Teabagger Chat Room"], I apologize but there simply aren't enough of you out there to justify this expenditure of time and effort.)

    Sunday, December 18, 2011

    A Republican Christmas Carol

    (With grave apologies to Charles Dickens.)

    Lay was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that, unless one believed in liberal conspiracy theories. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner (pay no attention to the fact that his best friend did the autopsy and the cremation was carried out without even a viewing). Richard B. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Lay was as dead as a door-nail.

    Lay was really dead? Just ask old Richard B., his partner in crimes across the energy industry, Ken Lay in electricity, Richard Scrooge in oil services. Richard was his sole friend and mourner but didn't seem terribly cut up by the rather sudden event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral (witness the California wildfires), and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain.

    Oh! But Richard B. was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone! When Katrina knocked out power up and down the Gulf Coast, old Scrooge demanded that power be diverted from the hospitals so the refineries could get back to work.

    Once upon a time, long after Scrooge had left the White House, Richard B. Scrooge sat in his counting house counting his stock options that had split during the late war in Iraq that had just concluded. His counting house door is ajar and we can see the fire beside him is so very small but not as small as that of his clerk, "Scooter" Crachitt, who had only a much smaller fire to warm him.

    Libby had had the temerity to ask for Christmas day off so he could go skiing with his lobbyist friends. "Bah humbug and go fuck yourself!", Scrooge was tempted to bellow at his sole clerk but realized he could use this opportunity get out of paying Crachitt a day and to make him come in all the earlier the day after the ridiculous holiday. The fool had already broken his leg just before the Plame trial. Let him break it again.

    Presently, two cheerful men of middle age walked into Scrooge's counting house, loudly exclaiming, "Merry Christmas! This is Scrooge and Lay, I presume?"

    "You presume correctly, sirs," Scrooge said. "And what can I do for you today?"

    "Sir, we are making our yearly rounds soliciting for donations for the poor. How much can we put you down for?" The gentleman with the greater moustache put his pen to his pad, quivering with anticipation.


    "N-nothing? But, sir, surely you realize Christmas is coming and there are a great many people in want, those without food or adequate shelter, affordable health care or heat for the encroaching winter."

    "They can go fuck themselves," Richard B. thundered. "Are not the debtor's prisons and repo men still in business? Nor high finance rates for scofflaws?"

    "Well, yes, sir, they are, but..."

    "Then begone with you! Everyone who celebrates Christmas should be boiled in boiling oil, with their heart impaled with the shin bone of an Iraqi child. Begone and go fuck yourselves!"

    "But, sir..."

    "I said go fuck yourselves!"

    Richard B. Scrooge looked at the clock and realized with regret the trading day was coming to an end. So he trudged home in the dark gloom and frigid weather, praying he wouldn't meet up with his lesbian wife with whom he'd managed to avoid sleeping since his little Vietnam deferment was conceived in the 60's. He was tired, so very tired! that the poor old chap fell atop his four poster bed and fell fast asleep.

    Presently, there came a clanking in the hallway, like the sound of a hundred chains abusing the hardwood floor. Then Scrooge's chamber door opened with a loud creak. It was Lay.

    "Kenny boy! How can this be? You are dead! I had you cremated myself immediately after your conviction!"

    Lay's chains were laden with lock boxes and bundles of worthless shares of Enron stock and 401(k) plans. "Oooooh, Dick," he replied in a hoarse whisper, "you and I did fabulous business together in life but there is comeuppance in the afterlife. Clarence Darrow is God's Attorney General and I am condemned to roam the world and telling all who would listen about the error of my ways."

    "Error? But Kenny boy, we made a mint fucking over the poor and powerless!"

    "Oooooh, Dick, I am here to tell you that money isn't everything."


    "Tonight, you will be visited by three special prosecutors..."

    (Part Two will resume tomorrow.)

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Christopher Hitchens Dead at 62

    Christopher Hitchens died yesterday and, in a special, rarified irony seemingly peculiar to or reserved by a (gasp) malicious Higher Intelligence for the high and mighty, he also died the same exact day we officially began the troop drawdown in Iraq.

    In build and physiognomy if not ultra right wing, pro-national polemics, Hitchens looked remarkably similar to fellow Brit Roger Allam, the fine actor who played Lewis Prothero in V For Vendetta. But in the run-up to war with Iraq, Hitchens shocked many of his running buddies on the left side of the street to side with the Bush administration. To paraphrase Charles Pierce, it was if, like Dick Cheney, Hitchens completely lost his fucking mind after 9/11.

    But, like Mitt Romney and so many other extremists of all stripes, Hitchens was cherry-picked and even reviled by the right after his death (Professional, dues-paying asshole Bill Bennett even went as far as to say that Hitchens would have a surprise waiting for him when he got to the Pearly Gates.). To Republicans and liberals alike, it's not enough for one to agree with another on one key issue: They have to be 100% like us.

    Indeed, liberals like me could never quite reconcile Hitchens' cheerfully destructive tirades against organized religion because of those very same uncharacteristically ignorant cheerleading of his adopted country sending hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi children to their 72 virgins.

    That left Hitchens in a No Man's Land populated only by the very few lone wolves who also occupy that lonely wilderness, seemingly comfortable in the alleged contradictions of being an atheist and a war drum-beater. No one could be said to understand Christopher Hitchens. As Miles Davis once famously said, "If you knew what I was talking about, you'd be me."

    But whatever your ultimate views on Hitchens, you cannot deny the man's literary talent. His videos on Youtube are always treats regardless of your political, religious or ideological stripe. He never had to thunder and bluster his views like the fictional Prothero, never had to raise his voice and, even while he was eviscerating you for your ignorance, you felt as if you weren't boxed about the ears but had your ass wiped with silk. Vanity Fair's contributing editor was a pundit who was a jack of all topics, master of most, sort of a Dylan Thomas with a defined political sensibility.

    His literary ability was so good and so obviously earmarked for posterity he could make Esquire scribe Charles Pierce and James Wolcott (the Andy Rooney of Vanity Fair) gnash their teeth into ground meal. He was, to quote a notorious Republican, a smart man's version of what a smart man sounds like.

    And considering Hitchens' necessary intellectual limitations on Iraq and heaven, there's a chance St. Peter is waiting for him to get off that express elevator to the Pearly Gates. And, knowing Hitchens, even when confronted with evidence of his error in judgment in the person of St. Peter, I can perfectly imagine Hitch saying, "So you say, old man. But I still need identification."

    The Real Intent of the Right Wing War on Culture

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)

    It's extremely important to distinguish the difference between a mere culture war, which suggests some parity, from an actual War on Culture. If what's going on here in the United States doesn't clue you in as to why, then perhaps you need an objective look at what's going on in Hungary, for instance.

    Every now and then, I'll read an article that changes my entire belief system or at least one that allows me to sharpen my focus on a particular topic. This article by Philipp Oehmke in Der Speigel, one ironically translated from the original German, on the right wing war on culture in Hungary is one such example.

    It stresses the need for a nation to have a national identity and a thriving, free-thinking culture in order to guard itself from outside influences such as the homophobic and anti-Semitic Jobbick Party in Hungary. One needn't squint too hard or pull a muscle stretching to draw parallels between the extreme right wing Jobbick Party, which is now the third largest in the Hungarian Parliament, and the National Socialist Party of 1930's Germany.

    Budapest, as with Berlin 80 years ago, is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city with a thriving culture and a strong theatrical tradition. It's no less tolerant of its gay community than any other major city and, being the epicenter for cultural and political thought, it's an accurate barometer for what's going on in the rest of the country. Hungarians are renowned for their leftist leanings and liberalism, which makes it all the more mysterious why they'd vote in so many right wing bigots from the Jobbick Party so that now they're in roughly the same position as the Nazi Party was before the 1932 elections that saw the ascendance of Adolph Hitler.

    Hungary currently has a conservative government in place, one that saw the ouster of the 20 year-long administration of the former liberal Budapest mayor's office and replaced with István Tarlós, described by one of his critics as being, "a reptile of Hungarian politics, muscular and well-fed."

    I have a dear friend in Budapest, a young gay man, who's the victim of near-constant bullying from homophobic classmates. The school administration turns a blind eye to his victimization and when I recommended he go over their heads and air his grievances to the mayor of Budapest, he said that his letter was met with stony silence. Given Tarlós' track record, I no longer wonder about the apathy.

    The leadership of the New Theater, the closest thing Hungary has to a national theater, was handed over to György Dörner, a right wing activist and sympathizer, by Mayor Tarlós after receiving a sloppy 20 page proposal essentially asking for control of the theater. The governing board, consisting of eight members, had no taste for any leadership change. Of the eight, six voted down the change and the other two abstained from voting. Despite the virtually unanimous consensus to maintain the status quo, Tarlós gave the reins to Dörner, who condemned the theater in his proposal for its "degenerate, sick, liberal hegemony." (He also wanted to rename it the "Home Front Theater", which even the rabidly right wing Budapest mayor found beyond the pale.).

    Nonetheless, the soup sandwich of a proposal was approved by the mayor with absolutely no regard for the recommendations of the theater's board members and the new director will obviously use the theater as a propaganda tool. The outgoing director, István Márta, seems to be a capable one, providing Budapest's theater-going community with an eclectic range of well-reviewed plays spanning different countries, different eras and from different playwrights from Shakespeare to (believe it or not) our own Tom Waits. The theater is making money and doing more than its fair share that Budapest maintains its all-important if all too elusive cultural identity. One gets the feeling that when the new guy takes over, feeding the bottom line in the interest of a right wing hegemony won't be so important.

    I do not agree with the author when he says, "Hungary today is a country trying to awaken a sense of national identity that never actually existed," although he contradicts himself earlier by writing, "In Hungary, culture is leftist and liberal, as it is in many other European countries." (Sidebar: How a nation can have a thriving, open-minded culture while not being possessed of a national identity mystifies me. Were it not for Hungary's proud national identity, the Uprising of 1956 couldn't have happened. But that's immaterial.) Yet culture is at the bottom of this issue, this Speigel article and my own.

    Hungary for Change

    The purge and rewriting of the laws, part and parcel to Hitler's extreme right wing agenda, has long since begun. Márta's been given the bum's rush despite the voice of the board and his counterpart in the National Opera in Budapest has since also been 86'd. There's this:
    The government is investigating 82-year-old Agnes Heller, Hungary's most famous philosopher, a former dissident, Marxist and student of the Marxist philosopher Georg Lukács. The government, with massive support from the right-wing press, claims that she squandered European Union grant money.

    And this:
    A monument to the poet Attila József on a square in front of the parliament building is expected to be taken down soon. József, whose works are classics of proletarian poetry, was a humanist with a Marxist worldview. He threw himself in front of a freight train in 1937. The new government does not believe that a monument to this sort of a person ought to be standing in front of the parliament. It's as if the Germans were to remove a statue of Friedrich Schiller because the poet had long hair.

    The cracking down on dissidents with show investigations and trials, the disappearance of monuments honoring proletarian heroes (echoed most recently in Paul LaPage's Maine) and the purging of secular, humanist liberals and potential enemies of the state are just beginning, right out of the dog-eared playbook of right wing dictatorships.

    Then there's this, perhaps the most chilling revelation of all:
    Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz Party controls the country with a two-thirds majority in parliament -- enough, in other words, to reconfigure a parliamentary democracy or even reshape an entire country. A new constitution takes effect on Jan. 1, 2012, and a new press law designed to prevent unwanted criticism of conditions in Hungary has been in place for the last few months.

    The Fidesz Party, as far as I understand it, is the mainstream conservative government which is bad enough. But even they're being challenged by the Jobbick Party, Hungary's answer to the Druz Party of Lebanon, Israel's Likud, Germany's NPD neonazis and our own Tea Party Republicans currently infesting Congress like so many ideological heartworms.

    For a minute, let's shelve the speculation as to why a famously leftist nation such as Hungary would give a nearly 80% majority to right wingers and make the Jobbick Party the third largest in the nation and focus, instead, on where this is leading.

    Oehmke's contention (one that may partially explain the political shift of the electorate) is that, bereft of a national identity, Hungary is weakened and made susceptible to political change no matter how radical and intolerant. Hitler's National Socialist Party was able to transform cosmopolitan, sophisticated Germany into a totalitarian state within a few short years by exploiting the peoples' dissatisfaction with the Weimar Republic of Bismark that to this day is closely associated with hyperinflation and rampant unemployment.

    Hungary at this moment is a relatively stable democracy (at least in name) that never gets listed with the usual suspects in doom and gloom prognostications of the fall of the European Union. But even if Oehmke's assertions about Hungary's lack of a sense of national awareness and identity can be taken at face value, one cannot deny he has a point where he writes,
    But a country's culture can't be changed that easily. In Hungary, culture is leftist and liberal, as it is in many other European countries. Culture does what it pleases and what it thinks. But to gain complete control over a country, one has to control what people think. This is precisely the issue on many people's minds in Hungary today: a battle for people's thoughts.

    And this, as Frank Zappa once said, is the crux of the biscuit. This explains in a nutshell the wearisome Republican mantra of defunding the NEA, calling Bert and Ernie gay, slinging mud at the Teletubbies, calling for the abolition of NPR and PBS, waging a war on science, calling the mainstream media and Hollywood liberal, in essence, literally embracing ignorance. It would be all too easy to assume they're trying to clamp down on dissident or potentially dissident thought but it would be all too easy.

    If you want to undermine a country and get a toehold, tapping into mere dissatisfaction with the establishment isn't enough if you want to change a nation's thought and win over hearts and minds. Because the electorate has to be bereft of a culture and/or a national identity. And I've been saying for years that the United States has no culture other than what it's borrowed from others and that the closest thing we have to culture is hyperactive consumption that even this economic downturn can only slow down.

    This goes a long way toward explaining why some of the stupidest carbon-based life forms in the solar system get elected to public office virtually every year. We're the type of nation that tweets about National Cupcake Day exponentially more times than the long-overdue drawdown in Iraq, one that shrugs at reports that global warming is worse than we'd been told and that we have only a five year-long window to correct potentially world-ending trends while obsessing over the Kardashian divorce. When you give electoral power to a people such as this, it's only inevitable that we're going to elect to public office ex-wrestlers and action stars as governors and dummies like Fred Grandy and Sonny Bono to Congress.

    That's not to say we're illegitimately dissatisfied with the road our government is taking our Republic. However, since we are a solipsistic, selfish nation, our criticism of any administration seems to be largely predicated on what suits or doesn't suit us, as this now-notorious op-ed reminds us. As long as we can pay our bills and hang on to our jobs and can afford cable so we can watch the new season of Mad Men, the rest of the country can go fuck itself in the fieldstone square that was the foundation of where our homes used to sit.

    The extreme right wing, fascist elements of the Republican Party had only partially or imperfectly tapped into this dissatisfaction with the current government but that dissatisfaction is largely squandered. It'd since been refocused and refined with a vengeance in the form of Occupy Wall Street, which isn't getting so much press anymore.

    But if early 1930's Germany proved one thing, it's that all an extremist party needs is widespread dissatisfaction with the current government (which also explains the success of the Russian Revolution of 1917) and a promise of, well, hope and change to get a toehold. Once that toehold is established, anything's possible.

    And right wingers are (until recently) very adept at recognizing that weakness. Dissatisfaction and polarization robs a people of whatever national identity left to them and they're susceptible to any political movement that at least promises to break the status quo.

    Russia began its march toward Communist hegemony through a revolution. Germany's own paradigm shift was through a Democratic process that rendered revolution redundant and enabled by populist dissatisfaction. And when our own history begins to get too blurred by right wingers to read, we'll all too soon forget our identity, that our own Republic was founded on a thirst for liberty and a refusal to live in fear. If you want to see where America's headed in 2012, look no further than Hungary.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Quote O' the Day

    "They want to touch you, feel you, and sniff on ya." - Rick Perry

    "I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him." - Hugo the Abominable Snowman.

    This is the Way the War Ends...

    (By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari Goldstein.)

    “Shall Life renew these bodies? Of a truth
    All death will he annul, all tears assuage?
    Or fill these void veins full again with youth
    And wash with an immortal water age?”
    - Wilfred Owen, (1893-1918), "The End", inscribed on his tombstone.

    ...not with a bang but a whimper.

    Something interesting happened today about 6000 miles away. Our major combat operations in Iraq ended... for the third time. Yawn. If you missed it, you'll be given a free pass. After all, how can the ending of a nearly nine year-long war that cost nearly 5000 American lives, over 1,000,000 Iraqi lives, displacing four million more and nearly a trillion dollars compare to other news items such as Herman Cain wanting to be Defense Secretary, the upcoming Golden Globes and, thank you, Tweeps for saving this for top honors, #Nationalcupcakeday. (Just to be fair, at press time, #Iraq has barely broken through the top ten trending topics in the US.)

    So why the muted trumpets and drums? Where are the headlines bellowing in 60 point bold as a necessary counterpoint to those of nine years ago when Dan Rather, Geraldo, Judith Miller and every single talking head on Fox "News" was screaming about smoking guns, mushroom clouds, Freedom Fries and Rah Rah, Sis Boom Bah-ing us into a plainly illegal war contrary to the UN Security Council's Resolution 1441 and every single pertinent international law despite a complete lack of evidence of WMD, Saddam's complicity with al Qaida and the slightest shred of proof of his involvement with 9/11?

    Where are the randy sailors at Times Square grabbing and kissing random nurses and immortalized for posterity by Alfred Eisenstaedt's successor before melting into the NYC subway system, where's the Victory Day ticker tape parades for the returning troops, the booming postwar economy that naturally followed and continued well into the 70's? Where are the grateful, liberated Iraqis offering their daughters as thanks for liberating them from a dictator who'd killed tens of thousands to an occupying force that had killed hundreds of thousands?

    Yeah, where's the gratitude for we, the liberators, the flower petals showered on our departing tanks, the new, shining Iraq filled with shiny, happy people that, according to the Geneva convention, is mandated to be rebuilt by the occupying and victorious country? Surely, Iraq will become the next West Berlin and the economic superpower that Germany became, no?

    "Suck it."

    I hope that you, Constant Reader, will forgive me my unpatriotic snark. However, in my defense, I was hoping for something a little more substantial, something more closely resembling the red, white and blue cock-wanding that celebrates American arrogance than the way we slunk out of Iraq earlier today with barely more dignity than our back door lover's exit from a roof in Saigon almost 37 years ago.

    Let's take a closer look and see what we're leaving behind and what our uncharacteristic modesty prevented us from saying:
    Ultimate chair-warming bureaucrat Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and other top civilian and military officials flew in to Baghdad to mark the formal end of the U.S. military effort, one of most divisive wars in American history.

    Instead of addressing the deep questions about the war, Panetta paid tribute to U.S. troops, arguing that the combat losses and the enormous expenditure of resources since 2003 had not been wasted.

    "To be sure, the cost was high -- in blood and treasure for the United States and for the Iraqi people," he told the audience of around 200 troops and a few Iraqi officials. "But those lives were not lost in vain -- they gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq."

    But, but... if Iraq is now truly free and purged of all destabilizing, destructive influences, then how do we explain leaving this in our deflowered wake?
    Yet an atmosphere of uncertainty permeates the U.S. exit.

    Though security has improved dramatically since the insurgency's height in 2006 and 2007, Iraq remains riven by ethnic and sectarian divisions and beset by fears that the U.S. departure will cause violence to increase once again.

    But fear not, Constant Reader, Blackwater Academi is trying to save the day. The murder artist formerly known as Blackwater is trying to worm its way back into the same country that had kicked them out over four years ago after a frenzied bloodbath in Nisour Sq. that had claimed the lives of 17 innocent Iraqi civilians. After all, the hated Eric Prince is out and Blackwater can now be trusted again because they have a new smart-sounding name like Academi (although, by that rubric, that means we can also trust British Petroleum again after Tony Hayward was shown the door so he could get back his life racing yachts again.).

    No doubt, the first thing the newly-collegial mercenaries will focus on is building the nearly 6000 schools that Iraq's Education Ministry says it needs to meet the school building shortage. Perhaps Eric's band of merry mercenaries can also address the problem of why Iraqis, after over eight years of American occupation, are still getting just a few hours of electricity a day after a particularly brutal summer a few months ago that killed more Iraqis who desperately needed relief from the Middle Eastern sun.

    And maybe, just maybe, if Blackwater has its hands full building all those state-of-the-art schools and rebuilding a once-functional electrical infrastructure, we can talk the British and American oil companies that have resumed their permanent residence there to look into the water problems that had plagued Iraq since our March 19, 2003 invasion (pdf file). Yeah, maybe they can take some of the burden from those NGO's such as UNESCO, burdens from which we'd decided years ago to quietly divest ourselves years before it broke that we couldn't account for almost 100% of the Pentagon's funding for their reconstruction.

    And then, once they get a handle on the ongoing water problem, perhaps those petroleum giants can start building the hospitals for which we'd contracted Bechtel, a shortage that has received virtually no attention from the liberal mainstream media, if this Google search is any indication (although, in the interests of fairness, the children's cancer hospital in Basra much touted over seven years ago by Laura Bush finally opened last year when the Army Corps of Engineers completed it.).

    No doubt, it'll be a special Christmas for the thousands of Iraq veterans who will be reunited with their families and loved ones in the coming days. Well, not all of them are coming home right away. First, we have to make a diversion through eastern and southern Asia.

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign

    Earlier this week, the presidential campaign of former Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney hit a snag when it was discovered that his catchphrase, "Keep America American", was also used by the anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Obviously, this is quite embarrassing for Mr. Romney's campaign but sources say there were actually other slogans that were eventually scrapped in favor of the racist one. What were they?

  • 10) "My hunting lodge still wasn't called Niggerhead."

  • 9) "NeoKnow Nothing and Proud of it!"

  • 8) "Keeping America Like Me and My Shirt: White and starched."

  • 7) "#Occupyabananaboatbackhome"

  • 6) "I Marched With Dr. King While Cycling Through France During Vietnam."

  • 5) "I ♥ Philadelphia, Mississippi."

  • 4) "How Do You Like My Driving a Racial Wedge Through America? Call 1-800-GET-MITT."

  • 3) "Check Out What the GOP Has Under the Hood!"

  • 2) "Want Transparency in Government? Elect a Guy Who's So White He's Practically Translucent."

  • 1) "Corporations are people, too, my friend, but brown carbon-based humanoid life forms are not."
  • Caption Contest

    Luke Skywalker's Holy Father.

    I got nothing else today. What have you got?

    Assault by Battery

    So there I was a few nights ago, turning the key and getting a brief reluctant whine like my cat after a nudge that woke him up, followed by a loud clacking. My battery that I'd gotten at Wally World just summer last year was now officially dead and incapable of holding a charge. By now, the battery acid was so watered down you could drink it and it was high time for a change. In a little over 12 hours, I had a job interview across town and I had no choice but to bite the bullet.

    After a neighbor jumped me the following morning, I drove straight to a service station I'd worked at for eight years and asked them to change out the battery. I got a 650 CCA NAPA Gold battery that fit under the hood but that plus labor cost us $145 at the worst possible time. Between bills, modest Xmas shopping and postage, that means it's automatically cutting into our bill money for after Christmas (Fortunately, I made the job interview and hopefully should hear some good news by early this week). Plus, I have to send Mrs. JP to Florida the week after Christmas so she can be with family ($233 round trip air fare right there).

    If you can help us out a little during this holiday season, we'd surely appreciate it. Regardless of whatever you can kick in, ask and I'll even throw in by file attachment one or both of my novels, the Mike Flannigan-penned tragi-comedy American Zen and my hostage negotiation thriller The Toy Cop.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    Encyclopedia UnAmericana

    Nearly 15 years ago, scholar George Thomas Kurian published a massive 1800+ page-long work called The Encyclopedia of the Republican Party, a companion volume to a history of the Democratic Party. And that is precisely what Mr. Kurian's books are: Exhaustive histories of both our political parties up to 1997.

    From the start, however, the recent Republican Party's field of presidential candidates have been challenging accepted facts about American history, science, geography and a whole host of other topics and disciplines. This naturally would necessitate, or should necessitate in the interests of fairness and equal time, a separate scholarly volume of facts known only to the Republican Party. Allow me to humbly propose as I present these first contributions of what will no doubt be a massive volume of conservative erudition that this alternate tome of human knowledge be called The Encyclopedia UnAmericana.

    Adams, John Quincy 6th President of the United States of America (1825-1829) and, avers Rep. Michele Bachmann, by far the most precocious of the Founding Fathers as he was not quite nine years-old when the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. Perhaps Adams fils attempted to draft part of the Declaration in crayon but was stopped just in time by Adams père.

    Alaska, the 49th state in the union and the only one that produces more oil than all of Saudi Arabia, according to the late petroleum savant Ronald Wilson Reagan. The Carl Sandburg of the Klondike, half term Governor Sarah Palin described her adopted state in her resignation speech thusly:
    “Denali, the great one, soaring under the midnight sun. And then the extremes. In the winter time it’s the frozen road that is competing with the view of ice fogged frigid beauty, the cold though, doesn’t it split the Cheechakos from the Sourdoughs? ... It is as throughout all Alaska that big wild good life teeming along the road that is north to the future.”

    It was Gov. Palin's express lifelong ambition to be even less accessible than T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound combined. America has reached a consensus that she had very admirably succeeded.

    Freedom In human civilization, a state of liberty peculiar only to the United States and the usually rubble-littered Third World countries with whom it shares its liberty. According to Russian language linguist Ronald Wilson Reagan, there is no word for "freedom" in Russian.

    HPV An acronym for human papillomavirus, the viral precursor to a cervical cancer treatable by a vaccine made controversial by some evangelical Republicans such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-06). According to the non-doctor Bachmann, this vaccine not only causes mental retardation in fictional people and, free from worries about cervical cancer, would cause nymphomania in pre-adolescent girls younger than 13. When pressed to validate this startling scientific finding, Rep. Bachmann proved her modesty by claiming she'd never made such a brilliant conclusion.

    New Hampshire The rock-ribbed Republican state succeeding liberal, gay marriage-loving Massachusetts as the cradle of the American Revolution, thanks to Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. The Lexington and Concord of "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" was moved from the North Bridge in Lexington, Massachusetts to an undisclosed location in New Hampshire, possibly the other Concord.

    Slavery The dark, shameful period in North American history in which white textile and slaver merchants captured, sold and forced captive Africans to toil in cotton fields despite the best efforts of the slave-owning colonial American government to stop such a practice, according to eminent amateur historian Rep. Michele Bachmann. Said Prof. Bachmann,
    “But we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States, men like John Quincy Adams… would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country.

    What other historians fail to note is that perhaps the reason why the son of the second president wasn't listened to in his impassioned plea to repeal slavery is because the future sixth President was but eight years old when the Declaration of Independence was being written and ratified. Slavery was actually repealed in 1865 with the ratification of the 13th Amendment thanks to the tireless efforts of Adams fils, now a zombie, seventeen years after his demise.

    Social Security A massive criminal enterprise created by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, as revealed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who called it "a Ponzi scheme." Long disguised as a somewhat effective and solvent social safety net funded through payroll taxes, this example of subterranean fraud and malfeasance, while it did not put one penny in President Roosevelt's pocket, nonetheless was redistributed back from whence it came: Out of the pockets of the victims of this inverted Ponzi scheme who actually got back more than they'd kicked in beginning in 1937.

    Solyndra, aka Solynda Formerly, a bankrupt solar energy company transformed by Texas Governor Rick Perry as a new nation known as "Solynda." Joining other fictional nation states such as Narnia, Mordor and Gondal, its denizens (presumably known as Solyndarians) are heathen, pagan liberals run by "a gangster government" (Bachmann) adept only at losing a half a billion dollars from its national Treasury given to them by a Socialist/Marxist dictator. Solynda is the first ever instance of a Republican attempt at nation-building.

    Supreme Court The highest judicial body in the United States, formerly comprised of eight associate justices and one Chief Justice. In late 2011, however, the SCOTUS felt the downsizing pinch as the rest of the nation when Texas Governor Rick Perry suddenly laid off one justice by claiming the Supreme Court now numbered eight. At press time, it is unclear which Supreme Court Justice was pink-slipped (leaving open the ever-present possibility of 4-4 votes). However, one likely candidate is the second-least senior justice, Sonia Montemayor (formerly Sotomayor).

    Swine Flu The more popular name for the N1H1 virus, one that had broken out, according to History Professor Emeritus Michele Bachmann during Jimmy Carter's presidency in 1976. Rejecting firm, accepted historical fact seemingly supported by many still living today. this would involve a secret and forcible takeover of the outgoing Ford administration by the Carter campaign.

    Tree Outsized vegetation. In conservative i.e. progressive circles, trees obstruct progress by standing in the way of potential parking lots, mining extractions and strip mall development. Most inimically, trees cause, according to famed botanist Ronald Wilson Reagan, "more pollution than automobiles do."

    Uzbekistan Formerly a sovereign nation once part of the Soviet Union and led by a tyrant named Islam Karimov. Yet, according to former presidential aspirant Herman Cain, is actually named Ubekibekibekibekistanstan (with a silent "z"). Its leader is unknown and it is a badge of honor to be ignorant of this mysterious leader's identity.

    Voting Age: 40 years ago in 1971, the 26th Amendment lowered the voting age to 18 years largely because of student activism protesting the war in Vietnam. However, in 2011 the minimum voting age was raised from 18 back up to 21 by one of our most generous contributors, Texas Governor Rick Perry. In the same breath, Gov. Perry also pushed Election Day 2012 (formerly on November 6) forward by six days to November 12th. Purely by coincidence, of course, this is eerily consistent with a Republican tactic of offering false election and ballot return dates.

    Have a Republican Xmas, Pt 2

    What better, more Christian and humane way is there to celebrate the birth of Christ, a man who renounced all possessions and preached unconditional love and charity, than to glut the hyperconsumerized retail industry and fund in the process causes, organizations and agendas that seek to glorify and subsidize militarization, suppress unconditional love, charity, peace as well as undermining child labor laws and all that good shit?

    Because Republicans and conservatives who constantly scream about "partisan politics" when their moral turpitude and avaricious enterprises are dragged kicking into the light of day nonetheless have no problem in politicizing even Christmas and this annual holiday series here at Pottersville shows year after year that Republicans just never give it a fucking rest.

    In the spirit of shedding light on this pathetic phenomenon, let's kick off this year's edition with this, an opportunity out of Arizona for your kids to have their picture taken with an armed Santa Claus. I guess all those times Santa and his eight tiny reindeer were shot out of North Korean and Soviet Russian air space radicalized him. Now he's taking his "naughty or nice" list to a whole new level! And this Scottsdale Santa won't tell any gunlovin' Ralphies that "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!" That would be liberal propaganda like when Obama wants to indoctrinate and radicalize our youth.

    And in case any of your kids was inspired by the North Pole's deadliest elf and want to take it to the next level, there's this honest-to-God ghillie suit made for kids and for sale on, courtesy of Pine Creek Outdoors. Yes, for just $55 plus s+h, your kid can look like a rotting compost heap as he stalks his neighbors while cultivating revenge fantasies on his future high school just like American heroes and 2nd amendment icons Klebold and Harris.

    Wait, not so fast! Before you leave, don't forget to check out this "Jesus Weeps When You Smoke" ashtray. Seriously, how can you put out your unfiltered Chesterfield on the face of our Lord and Savior, especially when his eyes are already artificially reddened by your rude second-hand smoke? True, I don't seem to recall the Stigmata being composed of cigarette burns from the Romans but what do I know?

    Speaking of Jebus, in what is surely the hottest-selling gift this year for all ye faithful, takes the randomness and squinting and matrixing out of your breakfast food. Now, every morning can be automatically blessed and the Holy Eucharist can now be automated and mass-produced with the push of a finger. Now, you can be holier than liberal heathens without the conflict of whether to eat the loving face of Jesus or selling His likeness on eBay.

    Oops. Doesn't look like the DVD distributor for this year's bomb, Atlas Shrugged, didn't recall the entire first edition that described Ayn Rand's Objectivist ode to selfishness as "a timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice." The DVD has since been repackaged with a new back cover that replaces "self-sacrifice" with "self-interest", which sounds a whole lot more in keeping with the theme of giving to others during the holidays. Incidentally, Randian law forbids you from buying it for others. You can only buy it for yourself.

    Meanwhile at the GOP Store, the Reagan centennial is still going strong and has spawned a Republican cottage industry that's successfully mined millions off Reagan's rotting corpse. For instance, you can buy your loved ones this framed photograph of Reagan's second inaugural in 1985 when he decided to break from tradition when it got too cold outside. Forget the fact that you'd need an electron microscope to see the man of the hour. It's the thought that counts and a 27 year-old photo of a bunch of nobodies is certainly worth the $400 this snapshot will cost you.

    Also from the GOP store: As a rebuke to those mean, nasty, hateful lib'ral naysayers who keep accusing Republicans of playing dirty pool, you can show them this picture of every Republican President in American history playing pool. A variation of last year's hit of Republicans playing poker, this instant classic is a steal at just $17. Although it's hard to imagine how even a guy who suspended habeus corpus on Confederate soldiers would want to play pool with at least five Republican war criminals who did their level-headed best to divide a country that Lincoln devoted his entire presidency to uniting.

    As we prepare to reluctantly depart the GOP Store, take a gander at this. No visit here would be complete without the perfect symbol of not just the Republican Party but an apt one perfectly describing the GOP presidential field: An inflated, empty pachyderm. Why anyone would want this on their lawn or anywhere else is anyone's guess. I'd ask a republican for their thoughts on the subject but they're not exactly renowned for being the party of ideas beyond "Cut taxes!"

    As the perfect way of dispelling the lib'ral notion that President Obama is a magnet for inbred rednecks, you might want to consider this racist magnet as a stocking (or hood) stuffer, courtesy of Cafe Press's proud Racist Gift line. For just $4, this neat little stocking stuffer would be perfect for any (hopefully white) refrigerator on which you can affix your kids' picture with an armed St. Nick or this year's liberal hunting permit.

    Speaking of stocking stuffers... In case any of you were still wondering why the GOP presidential field is so amorphous and why there seems to be a new front runner every month, perhaps this bumper sticker will explain why: They'll vote for anybody as long as it isn't the Karl Marx wannabe in the WH. And if you know 50 Ford pickup owners, you can buy this pack of patriotic bumper stickers for $155 from Cafepress's right wing line (in Canada).

    The Clare Boothe Luce Institute is selling its new 2012 calendar, which for some reason Sarah Palin doesn't ever seem to wish to be a part of. But luckily, even though America has been taken over by the vast left wing conspiracy, there are plenty of other libertarian lovelies to go around, including Anorexic Annie, Michelle "Our Lady of Manzanar" Malkin and two obscure Fox "News" talking heads! Personally, I can't think of a better and more enjoyable way of counting down to Armageddon on December 21, 2012.

    A few years ago, I'd found a fetus Christmas bulb but if you're less like George W. Bush and more like Rick Santorum, you'll want this pewter fetus Christmas ornament courtesy of Flaming Lips. Now, instead of merely looking at an eponymous fetus that's every bit as much trapped in a plastic bubble as our 43rd president, this lovingly tactile unborn pewter snowflake baby can be touched, fingered and snuggled (umbilical cord and placenta extra).

    Have a budding young college Republican in your household of the female persuasion? Well, has got that covered with Republican action figures of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann...

    ...and even an eponymous heroic schoolgirl in a skimpy plaid skirt in case your Republican hubby has some Kill Bill fantasies that he'd rather not share with the rest of the family.

    (Bachmann action figure comes with lots and lots of extra baggage. Marcus Bachmann arm ornament not included.)

    Sunday, December 11, 2011

    Republican Populism

    Because nothing says populism and nothing strikes a chord with blue collar voters like two old multimillionaire Republican white guys betting each other $10,000 on national television. That $10,000, by the way, could easily feed a family of six for a solid year. Or am I guilty of class warfare by pointing that out?

    Meet the Yahoos

    Now that Herman Cain has "suspended" his campaign so he can spend more time with his attorneys and the GOP field once again bleached to its usual levels, the differences between the candidates become less obvious (four of the five men taking part in the debate wore red ties). Minus Jon Huntsman, last night's ABC News-Yahoo debate looked like the 19th Hole at Augusta with Michele Bachmann as the barfly at 1:59 AM hoping to get noticed.

    Obeying the laws of campaign politics, the other nominees played Capture the Flag, taking turns taking swipes at Grand Old Philanderer Newt Gingrich. At 68, this is obviously Newt's last hurrah in his quest for the Oval Office. By process of attrition and running against a clearly mentally unbalanced field consisting of non-entities, morons and psychopaths, Newt is currently on the top of the dunghill even while crowing about making children janitors. And Mitt Romney, Newt's closest competitor and in a process straight out of Last Action Hero or The Purple Rose of Cairo is playing Gordon Gecko to the hilt, proving, as always, to be about as popular as Pat Buchanan in the Castro.

    As usual, the punches and counter-punches were done under the guise of civility, with Mitt stiffly laughing as only a possessed Gentleman's Wearhouse mannequin can at Newt Gingrich's jibe that the only thing that kept him from being a career politician was getting his uptight ass slapped over his well-coiffed head by Ted Kennedy, which is true (One can only imagine Romney after the debate, seething with fury and looking for someone's dog to strap on a car roof). But it hardly made Gingrich any less of an insider, an image that he's trying to belie in the current wave of anti-incumbency that was powerful enough to make even Barney Frank retire.

    Rick Perry's neurons fired together just long enough to note that the American electorate is quite justified in factoring in a man's infidelity to his wife and to extrapolate from that a suspicion about his moral turpitude in general. Gingrich got points in the always-supine MSM for "smoothly" parrying Perry's thrust. Yet it's notable that while agreeing the American public has a right to ask any questions of any presidential candidate, he also referred to his own serial adultery as if talking about some other Newt Gingrich or a ne'er do well kid brother. Never once in his agreement with Perry did Gingrich admit to any wrongdoing except to say in the abstract, "I've made some mistakes". Nor did giving the American public a blank check to ask any questions it saw fit jibe with the typical Republican surliness and thuggery that comes with trying to hold the candidates' feet to the fire.

    Despite currently leading in three of the four early primary states. Gingrich will not survive the holiday season and will be put on a shelf with the other fruitcakes so we can start all over again. Romney is running away from his "liberal" past and flip-flopping about as successfully as a three legged elephant. Romney's detested for that and two other reasons: His Mormonism and the fact that he's just not nasty enough. Republican voters, I think, have come to the consensus that Romney intends to do what's best for Wall Street and purging the nation of unions, gays and liberals may be just an afterthought.

    Huntsman and Paul, who are more adroit at hiding their own particular lunacy, are the two scrawny kids always picked last for the kickball game and will never even get to be the flavor of the day. And even among a demographic that revels in watching traffic at NASCAR tracks and WWE wrestling, Bachmann and Perry are just too stupid for even these people to elect (although, how George W. Bush slipped by them 12 years ago is still anyone's guess).

    Santorum can forget having any political future ever again thanks to Dan Savage and Google. Plus, as the field's only other Catholic, he'll never pass muster with the evangelical vote that's still waiting for Republican Jesus to come down in a golf cart made of light and wearing a Brooks Brothers suit. Santorum is the worst of both worlds: He's simply crazy and stupid, a shithouse rat that's been clonked on the head too many times with a pipe wrench.

    That leaves Romney, a guy who could name his campaign "Bridesmaid Revisited" and who changes positions more often than a double-jointed porn star with ADHD. But the truth is, Romney and Gingrich both have one thing handicapping them: They both present an appearance of being career politicians at least in ambition while being miserable failures at it. Year after year, after getting hounded out of the House when his Contract With America crashed and burned on the Lakehurst, New Jersey part of the political landscape, the Lizard King has spent his time forming exploratory committees that told him every fours that no one wanted him as President.

    Romney, when he wasn't taking over weakened companies in hostile takeovers with Bain Capital and throwing American workers on the streets, has only a failed single term as Massachusetts' Governor to point to and otherwise has failed like he's failing now to secure any other position. Because even the mouth-breathing electorate that make up Crazy Base World know the difference between someone who wants to do something (even if it's destroying our social safety net and making unions a quaint thing of the past) and someone who just wants to be something.

    Romney and Gingrich, moreso than the also-rans, are coldly ambitious. Beneath that transparently disingenuous veneer of affability and reasonableness squirms two wannabes who would literally cut the tendons above their grandmothers' heels if they thought it would augment by one iota their chances of getting into the Oval Office.

    And, as always, the biggest thing they have going for them is the "R" after their names and their dedication to getting that Muslim, Kenyan, Commie nigger out of the White House. And Gingrich has the edge simply because he's not Mitt.

    Saturday, December 10, 2011

    Pottersville in Pictures: Christmas edition

    No one got Scott Walker's official Christmas card last year after he found out it was going to be printed by a union shop.

    The NRA's official 2011 Christmas card says, "Here's hoping for a very white Christmas, especially on the good side of the border."

    "Psst. I saw Mr. Bachmann kissing Santa Claus."

    Adding to his list of literary triumphs is Glenn Beck's sequel to The Christmas Sweater or The Magic Mormon Cocksack.

    The boys knew they were in for a long night when the door was opened by Jerry Sandusky.

    Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas II: The Bachmann Campaign

    "OK, you brought frankincense this time, right? 'Cuz we don 't want a repeat of last year's Frankenstein manger massacre."

    The problem with the Republican Party is they just can't quit Rick Perry.

    KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

    All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
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  • Top Ten Conservative Books
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  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #106: The Turkey Has Landed edition
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  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
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  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • Find, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
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